This chapter will introduce the reader to another aspect of today's computer-based methods of optical engineering and lens design. Until the early 1990s, the topic of lens design has been treated as a very specialized, almost mysterious subject, and it would have been confined to an isolated chapter in any book dealing with optical engineering. This chapter will introduce the concept of the optical designer, that is, the individual responsible for executing a combination of tasks that, in the past, have been accomplished individually by either the optical engineer or the lens designer.
In modern lens design, considerable overlap now exists between the areas of expertise of the optical engineer and the lens designer. The person responsible for doing the combined work of both the optical engineer and the lens designer might reasonably be referred to as an optical designer. This chapter will describe the work of the optical designer and demonstrate how recent technological developments, particularly in the areas of computer hardware and optical design software, make that new position possible.
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